February 16, 2008

Forty-Eight Hours in Hell

I don't know what people used to do before automatic washers and dryers but right now I'm in love with mine. Ours got a real workout in the past 48 hours. Before I explain our two days in hell, let me first say that I spent all of last week deep cleaning our bedroom, getting it ready for the six hundred dollars worth bedding that I bought with my prize money from the writers' award. The room looked and smelled as fresh and clean as a sea breeze…but it didn't last long.

First it hit me in the middle of the night and I thought it was food poisoning. Everything in me poured out the appropriate place but at such a speed and so often that I did nothing in between but shower, clean up the bathroom and bedroom and washing bedding. The next day when I wasn't on clean up duty or poop duty I stayed in bed, too worn out to even eat or cook for Don. Thank goodness for cereal. Otherwise he would have starved to death. All day I was thankful that Don didn't eat the chicken I erroneously thought gave me food poisoning. And I was also thankful that the most expensive part of the new bedding---Pendleton wool bed covers---had safely escaped the carnage when the shot-gun flu took over my body.

Then last night it hit Don in the middle of the night but he had it pouring out of both ends. It was scary being that he's right side paralyzed, too heavy for me to lift and I had a hard time getting him into sitting position as weak as he was. Death by choking on the flu---that's not a good way to go. By the time I got him in the shower that crap had soaked though two mattresses pads---one the thick foam kind---and had run down the new bed skirting, hitting the carpeting. I was doing the dry heaves dance as putrid odors filled up the master bedroom and bath. If the sheets hadn't been brand new I would have thrown them out. Instead, I ended up standing in the moon-lit snow rinsing them out with pails of water. Since I was in the dog pen, it shouldn't have shocked me that my boots ended up with poop on both the tops and the bottoms. Oops.

I had just finished cleaning up and getting the washer started about five-thirty when it hit Don again, only this time he luckily just vomited all over the bathroom floor. I told him that 'close' may count in horse shoes but a foot from the toilet wasn't good enough when you're spewing multi-colored vomit. I may have screamed it. I may have said it jokingly. With only a bottle of Mr. Clean as my witness I can't be sure.

Finally, I got Don back to bed, the bathroom cleaned up---again---and I was just drifting off to sleep when Don woke me up saying "thank you." I didn't know whether to laugh or cry but I do know that gods of aphasia have a funny sense of humor. Don must have lain there ten minutes trying to get those words out.

So far today, Don is keeping down water, tea and toast which I couldn't do my first morning out. If we get out tomorrow, I'm buying my washer and dryer a box of half off Valentine's Day candy just to say 'thank you' for being there for me—my white knights in the middle of the night. ©




Anonymous said...

hey Jean:

hope you both are feeling better by now. it's amazing that god of Aphasia allowed to tell you those wonderful words "thank you" which all of us survivors are saying all day long. thank you for being there, thank you for being you. I agree with your mantra caregiving is not for sissies.


BookingAlong said...

I hope you are feeling better now. We had it, too, whatever "it" is. I'm so sorry you are going through this. I haven't been reading this long enough to know if you've done much with respite services, free or paid, but they were our lifesavers. Those and whatever else we could jerryrig that we found acceptable. Our standards were high so mostly we did the caretaking ourselves. I don't know why I'm so addicted to your writing but I am, such style, humor and resilience (depending on the day and event).

The Bee Folks - Lori Titus said...

I feel for you. Been there, hated it too. Hope you are feeling better now.